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UB Study Finds Women Who Had Tonsils Removed at Increased Risk of Breast Cancer

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – Women who had their tonsils removed as children might have lost some protection against breast cancer, according to a new study released Sunday by UB researchers at a cancer research conference in California.

Previous studies have shown links between childhood tonsillectomies and certain cancers such as lymphoma, leukemia and breast cancer. Now, UB researchers say this new study adds to that evidence.

The study shows that pre-menopausal women who had tonsillectomies as children were fifty percent more likely to develop breast cancer. No increases risk was found among post-menopausal women.

Researchers conducted a five year case-controlled study of 740 local breast cancer cases.

Lead researcher Ted Brasky says the apparent association for pre-menopausal women could be related to the protective function that is lost when tonsils are removed. He says the findings could indicate that breast cancer in the two age groups could be caused by different factors.